Stumph Fiddle





Introduction: Stumph Fiddle

About: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric bikes that I've built, and an electric scooter pushed by a soc...

I have never had any musical talent -- none, that is until one day after I received a mild electrical shock while repairing an old radio.  One minute I had no musical talent, then "ZAAAAP," suddenly I was overwhelmed with it! 

Well, that's not exactly how it happened, but I did build a Stumph Fiddle (if you're not familiar with a stumph fiddle you can read about them here).  The good news is that it doesn't take a lot of talent to have fun with one as you will see in the video in the last step.

Step 1: Materials Required

The material list to build a stumph fiddle is pretty relaxed.  Basically you need a pole, and a bunch of noisemaking items to mount on it.  I patterned my stumph fiddle after several I saw on the internet. 

The one I built used the following:

- a strong adhesive
- a 1.25 inch wooden closet rod (about 5 feet long)
- two metal pie tins filled with nuts and bolts and riveted together
- some lightweight screen door springs
- an old metal sauce pan (with a bent handle)
- two bells
- a bicycle horn
- a wooden noisemaker percussion thing (bought at a toy store)
- several jingle type bells
- an iron plumbing reducer
- a hard rubber ball
- a few angle brackets
- misc. nuts, bolts, and wood screws
- stain and varnish

The tools used were:
- drill & bits
- scredriver
- paint brush

Step 2: Add Bounce to the Pole

The first thing I did was stain and varnish the pole.

Next, i added some bounce to the pole (you'll see why in the video in the last step).  I glued the plumbing reducer to the end of the pole (using Gorilla glue), then glued the rubber ball to the reducer (using a silicon based adhesive) and reinforced the ball with a threaded stud that fastened the ball to the end of the wood pole.

Step 3: Assemble

The first thing I did was bolt the pie pans to the wood pole using two long machine screws and nuts (I did this before riveting the pie pans together).

Next, using angle brackets, I screwed the various noisemakers to the pole, leaving about 6 inches of pole at the top to give me a place to grab it.  I mounted the cow bell upside down, and the "ringing bell" beneath it, using some rubber washers between them.

Everywhere I used a machine screw, I used a threadlocker to keep the vibration from loosening the mounts.

I also made a storage pocket from some scrap copper tubing (plugged at one end) to hold my drumstick (2nd photo).  This is optional, but handy.

The final item was to stretch the screen door springs over the pie tins, and mount them using two eyebolts.

Step 4: Play!

The stumph fiddle is a percussion instrument, and is played by bouncing it up and down and striking the noisemakers (and the springs) with a drumstick (or dowell).  As you can see in the following video, it is a fun instrument that doesn't take a lot of musical talent!



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    20 Discussions

    I believe sniffle bands use this.
    They play1930's,1920's music
    Like 12 street rag.
    The players usually play home made instruments.
    And this can definitely be customized.
    I've seen one with two cymbals on top.
    You can definitely make it your own

    Have you had any troubles with the ball coming off or the plumbing reducer? I tried using gorilla glue to repair an old one I had and mine lasted about 3 months and fell off.The glue wouldn't stick to the hard metal cup.

    1 reply

    In addition to the glue, I countersunk a screw into the rubber ball and screwed it to the shaft. I don't think it is going to come off. Thanks for your comments..

    Some people use popcorn in between the pie pans. more of a swishy noise.

    I beg to differ. If you have drumming or percussion skill and customize this baby you can make her sing. I've seen an very nice performance on you tube from Tom Lenny.

    That''s fantastically mental, have you tried using metal thimbles on your fingers rather than the drum stick. you have room for a washboard and some coconuts to take it to a whole new level. 

    Sure would be an ice breaker to liven up a wake, have fun and enjoy.

    Thanks for your comment! Haven't tried the metal thimbles yet, but did add a washboard!

    Love it, love it, love it. However I must disagree with the 58 second mark, I blame it on higher than normal sun spot activity that day.

    2 replies

    Sun spots, piano player, phase of the moon........ Any and all works for me! Thanks for the comment. By the way, I've enjoyed your instructables on musical instruments. I'm afraid that in the music world, I'll probably never graduate from the stumph fiddle class.....

    Oh,you've been bit, you will do something new with stump fiddle concept.


    Win Guy

    1 reply

    Glad you enjoyed the instructions. Don't worry about following them exactly -- just find some things that make noise and fasten them to the pole. I wanted to attach my wife's little dog, but she wouldn't let me..... Thanks for your comment!

    Yes, I did have a bit of difficulty at the 58 second mark, but I blamed it on the piano player. It couldn't have been me, because I had practiced for almost 2 minutes before making the video! Yep, must have been her...... Thanks for your comment!

    I highly recommend it for the classics --- "bang, bang, bang, bonk, bonk, bonk, ding, ding, ding, honk, honk....." Yes, Beethoven would be proud..... Thanks for your comment!